Water is an absolute necessity and we all know how important it is to drink enough water. We hear this advice everywhere. However, did you know that drinking too much water can be dangerous? Yes, that’s right! Water, when consumed in excess can be very harmful to your health and lead to a number of issues. Continue reading to find out how drinking too much water can negatively affect your health and well being. 

What Is Water Intoxication? 

Drinking too much water can lead to a condition known as water intoxication, which causes disruption in brain function. Drinking too much water can increase the amount of water in your blood. This dilutes the electrolytes, especially sodium, leading to electrolyte imbalance. When sodium levels drop, fluids shift from outside of the cells to inside. This causes swelling. 

Symptoms of Water Intoxication 

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Double vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Cramps 
  • Inability to identify sensory information 

Effects of Drinking Too Much Water 

  1. Decreased Sodium Levels 
  2. Your body’s overall sodium balance can be heavily disturbed by drinking more water than your body needs. This is the main reason behind the swelling up of cells. 

  3. Swelling of Cells 
  4.  Sodium and potassium ions help in maintaining fluid balance in the blood and cells. When there is an excess in the amount of water present in the blood, water rushes into the cells and causes them to swell. This can cause damage to the nerve cells of the brain, in rare cases, leading to seizures, headaches and brain injury. 

  5. Decreased Potassium Levels 
  6.  Low levels of potassium, are another major side effects of drinking too much water. This can often lead to nausea, vomiting,  diarrhoea and even low blood pressure. 

  7. Frequent Urination 
  8. Drinking too much water can leave you with a need to urinate frequently. This is because too much water in the body causes the kidneys to function constantly. As a result, you will have to urinate again and again, often multiple times in just an hour. 

  9. Muscle Cramps 
  10. Too much water can lead to a drop in electrolyte level in your body, thus causing a fluid imbalance in your body. This can affect the normal functioning of muscles, resulting in cramps and spasms. 

  11. Overburdens The Heart 
  12. As we all know, the heart performs the function of pumping blood through the body. Too much water in the blood increases the volume of blood, adding unnecessary pressure on the blood vessels and heart. 

  13. Overburdens The Kidneys 
  14. Consuming too much water can add pressure on your kidneys as well.  Your kidneys can filter about a litre of fluid per hour from the body. When it exceeds that amount, they will need to work extra hard. 

  15. May Cause Liver Problems 
  • May Cause Liver Problem . 
  • Liver problems can occur due to drinking too much water with iron in it. 

    1. Risk Of Chlorine Overdose 
    2. Chlorine is mainly used to clean drinking water. Therefore, drinking too much water with chlorine in it can lead to chlorine overdose. This can put you at risk of developing bladder and colorectal cancer. 

    3. Makes you Lethargic 

     The primary function of your kidneys is the excretion of fluids. When you drink more water than what is required, your kidneys flush that out through urine. However, draining out all this excess water causes stress. Thus resulting in a stress-reaction from the hormones thereby making you feel tired in general. 

    Signs of drinking too much water 

    1. Drinking Water Even When You’re Not Thirsty
    2. It is believed that most people can meet their daily water needs by just drinking water when they’re thirsty. Unless you have a special condition, it is enough if you let your thirst guide you in deciding how much water you need to drink. Forcing yourself to drink water even when you’re not thirsty is not a wise thing to do. You should always make sure to not drink more water than your body really needs.

    3. Frequent Urination  
    4.  Most people urinate six or seven times every 24 hours. If you find yourself urinating more frequently and needing to wake up at night to use the bathroom, you may be drinking too much water. However, you need to keep in mind that frequent urination can be a symptom of some other underlying issue as well, such as diabetes or urinary tract infection.

    5. Throbbing Headaches 
    6. Drinking too much water can cause a sodium imbalance in the blood that leads to swelling in the body’s tissues. Brain cells are particularly susceptible to this effect, which can cause the brain to press on the skull. A throbbing headache might be a sign that your brain is experiencing some slight swelling due to drinking too much water. 

    7. Swelling Of Hands, Feet, And Lips
    8. Since drinking too much water affects the functioning of the kidney, it often causes your lips, hands and feet to swell. This is because your body retains all the excess water. This can also cause sudden weight gain in some people, due to water retention.  

    9. Muscle Weakness
    10. Drinking too much water increases sodium in your body, resulting in muscle weakness, spasms or cramps. While there might be several other reasons for these, it is important to consider the amount of water you are drinking. 

    11. Confusion and disorientation 

    Confusion and disorientation is a major sign of overhydration. This is caused due to the falling levels of electrolytes such as sodium in the body.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How much water is it safe to drink in a day?

    You must have heard different opinions and advice on how much water you should drink in a day. However, health authorities recommend 2 litres of water, which might vary slightly based on your weight and other health requirements.

    How do I know if I drank too much water?

    Symptoms of overhydration are quite hard to detect because they are very similar to symptoms of dehydration. The most common signs include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Moreover, when you drink too much water, your kidneys won’t be able to lose the excess liquid, thus causing water to collect in the body. 

    How can you fix overhydration? 

    Some of the ways to fix overhydration are – 
    *Cutting back on your fluid intake. 
    *Taking diuretics to increase the amount of urine you produce.
    *Treating the condition that caused the overhydration.
    *Stopping any medications causing the problem.
    *Replacing sodium in severe cases.